Dispute over assisted suicide among neighbors

The case of a 52-year-old teacher from Burgundy has apparently moved the French deeply. The woman suffered from a facially disfiguring tumor disease. The few photos of her, which show her cruelly disfigured in her last days of life, caused the number of supporters of active euthanasia to skyrocket in polls. Nine out of ten French people, it was reported on Wednesday, voted in favor of legalization. Two years ago, about three-quarters of the respondents were.

Currently, active euthanasia is banned in France. A 2005 law nevertheless permits passive euthanasia. Patients can refuse treatment, doctors won't be punished if they administer such high doses of drugs to relieve pain that it may shorten life. Why the tumor patient found dead a week ago did not take advantage of these aids has so far remained unclear. She instead petitioned the court in vain for permission to be administered life-ending drugs.Christine Boutin, a housing minister known as a committed Catholic, complained that the case had been exploited by advocates of euthanasia. Even the daily newspaper "Le Monde", which is not suspected of being close to the Catholic Church, called it masterful how the patient had achieved her goal of triggering a nationwide debate on euthanasia.In fact, voices promptly increased, even among Boutin's cabinet colleagues, in favor of exemptions from the ban on euthanasia. The new family secretary of state, Nadine Morano, for example, wants to introduce a commission to ie approvals for active euthanasia in extreme cases. Prime Minister Francois Fillon commissioned a review of the 2005 end-of-life law.The French bishops, on the other hand, reaffirmed their rejection of active euthanasia. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon warned against changing laws while emotions are still surging. Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon referred to the existing palliative medical aids, and Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon also stressed that the existing legal leeway was sufficient.


The debate on euthanasia has also flared up again in neighboring Belgium. On the one hand, the death of the writer Hugo Claus a week ago brought the topic into the media. The eminent author, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, had life-ending drugs administered to him. This is allowed in Belgium.Afterwards, Cardinal Godfried Danneels regretted that often more has been written about euthanasia than about the literary achievements of the man of letters. Freethinkers criticized Danneels for saying that assisted suicide takes away the meaning of death. It sounds as if suffering is necessary to save one's soul, criticized Freethinkers President Pierre Galand.In addition, the discussion about further liberalization of the euthanasia law, which had been smoldering for years, also broke out again. There is no mention of this in the coalition agreement of the government formed at Easter. Christian Democrats have already ruled out extending euthanasia to minors and dementia patients in the current legislative period. But Flemish liberals said new proposals should be made soon.


Euthanasia is also being discussed in Luxembourg. Before the summer break, it will become clear whether the Grand Duchy will follow its neighbors, the Netherlands and Belgium, in legalizing active euthanasia. The deputies already voted once for a corresponding law. Because the Council of State demands a second reading, they must vote on it again.How this vote will turn out is uncertain, given the extremely close result at first reading in February. In Luxembourg, too, the Church warned against a break with the current order of values. There should be no right to kill, said Archbishop Fernand Franck shortly before Easter.

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